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This was the admonition of the Spartan wives and mothers to their men as they went to war.  There were only two ways to return home, on your shield or carrying it.  You must return in victory or death.  Their expectations were such that they could not consider anything less.

As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, I wonder if we consider how we treat our families year round.  Each day, as we venture out into the world to bring home the proverbial “bacon”, facing those challenges we each must face in our lives.  Even though most of us will not know the sting of mortal combat, we each must uphold our honor as we cross the larger battlefield of life.

So even if the trinkets of this Hallmark Holiday are left on the store shelves, the more important gift is the shield that you bring home to your loved ones tonight.  It may be tarnished and bent, but if it is held high, with pride and honor, and more importantly,the love that compels you to provide for your family,  it is worth more than all the stuffed teddy bears, roses and other geegaw’s in all the world.

 It is worth more than anything…except chocolate, nothing beats chocolate.

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